There seems to be a core of English errors that are made very frequently in mathematical writing by non-native English speakers. These include confusing "proof"/"prove" and "die"/"dice" and using finite verbs where the construction requires an infinitive, as in "does ... contains" and "let ... is".
Lately I've been wondering whether the frequency of these errors on this site is so high that they are actually being reinforced and perpetuated. A descriptivist might say that at that point they cease to be errors and begin to be a shift in the language. But one doesn't have to be a prescriptivist (if I were, I wouldn't have started this sentence with "but") to think that encouraging people to use language in a way that will be perceived as incorrect by native speakers might be a disservice to those thus encouraged.
So I'm wondering whether we should be more active about correcting these errors, and whether it might be useful to have an FAQ that's linked to from the "how to ask a good question" page that lists the most common errors and explains the correct usage.
Here's how part of this might look:
- "prove" is a verb ("How can I prove this?"), "proof" is a noun ("How can I finish this proof?").
- "die" is singular ("Roll one six-sided die."), "dice" is plural ("Roll three six-sided dice.").
- The auxiliary verb "do" that is often used to form questions takes an infinitive, not a finite verb. Correct: "Does the set have a least element?" Incorrect: "Does the set has a least element?"
- The verb "let" that is often used in formulating assumptions or introducing notation also requires an infinitive. Correct: "Let $n$ be an integer." Incorrect: "Let $n$ is an integer."